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The Beauty of a Dark Future: The Multicultural Consumer in the Next Decade

Published February 3, 2020
Published February 3, 2020
Jessica Felicio via Unsplash

What does the Multicultural Consumer want in the next decade? We got six perspectives on what the Industry needs to know … now.

As we get full swing into 2020, a significant trend is clear, coming out of last year heading into this New Year, New Decade … Black and Brown women are driving a significant cultural change and are, thereby, pushing boundaries in beauty: 

  • Lupita Nyong’o and Zendaya participated in a historic advertising campaign for Lancôme Cosmetics 
  • Ukonwa Ojo was named MAC Cosmetics' new Senior Vice President for Global Marketing 
  • Huda Beauty, founded by an Iraqi-American makeup artist and beauty blogger, is the most influential beauty brand on social media, amassing more than 50MM followers across all platforms
  • Adut Akech, of South Sudanese descent, was named "Model of the Year" at uber prestigious The British Fashion Awards
  • All 5 major beauty pageant titles are currently being held by Black women, with Nia Franklin as Miss America; Kaleigh Garris as Miss Teen USA; Cheslie Kryst as Miss USA; Zozibini Tunzi as Miss Universe; and Toni-Ann Singh as Miss World

And according to U.S. Census data, by the year 2045, more than half the population in the United States will be people of color, so as we move into the reality of a New Majority where those of Asian, Black, and LatinX/Hispanic backgrounds outnumber the white population, there is no denying that the multicultural beauty consumer and her needs will continue to be an essential sector of business in the industry. Consequently, READY to BEAUTY asked a diverse group of stakeholders about the importance of beauty’s changing landscape and what they think matters most for this new next decade ahead:

On Beauty Representation

Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA, on the importance of having five Black women hold beauty titles in one year:

It means that little girls who are Black can grow up and believe that they can be Miss Teen USA, Miss USA, Miss Universe, Miss America, or Miss World. Most importantly, I think it helps erase a sense of tokenism, as many of us have seen firsthand that there may only be one woman of color in influential spaces and high-powered rooms, and you are constantly pitted against or compared to other women of color. Now you can see that more than one woman of color can be in these important rooms and spaces all at once.”

On Natural Hair

Aya Taveras, Associate Director for Programs, The Perception Institute (the consortium of researchers who authored The "Good Hair" Study), on how The CROWN Act (the revolutionary law first passed in California that prohibits discrimination based on hair style or hair texture) will impact acceptance of natural hair in the future: 

"The "Good Hair" Study found that what was most effective in shifting attitudes about natural hairstyles was access to a supportive natural hair community coupled with a preponderance of images of Black & Brown women with natural hairstyles. The CROWN Act's passage in three states furthers the opportunity for people across lines of difference to see natural hairstyles throughout the school and workday, thereby beginning the work of interrupting stereotypic associations that have historically been made about textured and natural hair. The more that people see natural hair in all spaces—professional, recreational, academic—the greater the likelihood that in the long term, we will experience a societal shift of paradigm. Having the CROWN Act passed in 3 states, with increased interest from more states and possible federal legislation in the future, affirms my optimism."  

Aesthetics and Dermatology

Maritza I. Perez, MD, FAAD, Director of Cosmetic Dermatology at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Medical Center and Associate Professor of Clinical Dermatology at Mt. Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, NYC, on how aesthetic dermatology is becoming more inclusive:

 “I have been a dermatologist for the past three and a half decades. I have seen how our specialty has expanded to be more inclusive and detail-oriented in the management of patients of all colors and ethnicities.  Now you can find studies investigating the specific complications in using fillers in skin of color, and the positive effect of sun protection in skin of color in the reversal of hyperpigmentation, to mention some. As for the future advances for this next decade, I think there will be genetic markers for diseases seen more prevalent in patients with skin of color and specific interventions for each condition.”

Meeting the Needs of a More Vocal Consumer

Trenesa Danuser, CEO, Trenesa Danuser Consulting LLC, a strategic marketing communications consultancy on the needs of the Black consumer:

“There is a clear trajectory for women of color for defining beauty and driving beauty. I liken our tenacity and sheer will to have our beauty recognized, catered to, and celebrated to that of a taut slingshot. The attempts to hold us back, pull us back have only given us the catapulting fuel we need to move forward and surpass. The social media platforms have given voice to the often overlooked and unheard, and we see/know the power of our collective voices. We know we can buckle the earning power of a beauty behemoth that opts out of servicing our specific and profound beauty needs. Whether it be the right foundation shade or the hair products to enhance her natural kinks and coils, our collective voices demand that they get it right, or they might suffer the consequences. And with a market flooded with options, there's little room for error because she can go elsewhere. The industry was born out of a culture that has tried to poison generations of black and brown women and girls to question the validity of their beauty. Yet the constant, quiet whispers of the mamas and aunties and sister-friends have emboldened each of us to unleash an allegiance to our beauty that will not, cannot be quieted again.

"Now that the unapologetic demand is in the marketplace for beauty that fits and performs for women of color, the industry must have the representative voices of leadership in the board room. One size does not fit all, so having diverse expertise and experience goes beyond the old school of just having an only. The industry must stand up and look over its sea of cubicles to find and groom the next generation of leaders that will help them to inspire and convert a diverse consumer base.”

Shalini Vadhera, founder and CEO, Ready Set Jet and Passport to Beauty, on making inclusion an imperative:

"For years I've been saying that America is the greatest melting pot in the world. We literally have a new skin tone being born minute by minute, and I'm happy to see that brands are starting to finally acknowledge multicultural women in the marketplace by creating more beauty solutions for them. We're seeing more color options in foundations and higher pigment pay off in color brands, which makes me happy. I remember never being able to find colors that matched my skin, much less eyeshadow that would even show up! It was one of the reasons I, as a multicultural woman, pledged to create colors that are universally appealing to all skin tones and products that targeted the needs of diverse women. I also believe that with the ease of starting a brand, we are seeing more and more founder diversity in the beauty space, which is filling the void of products specifically focused on celebrating diversity.

"I am seeing a more targeted approach to multicultural beauty moving forward. I think we swung to one extreme with so many options that a lot of women found overwhelming. Moving forward, [the mandate] is going to be about simplifying but with a more targeted approach to providing solutions for multicultural beauty challenges be that skin tone color options and skin type solutions.”

Stephanie Flor, celebrity makeup artist and founder of global travel company Around the World Beauty, on the power of indie brands:

There is something magical about watching how women of color empower one another and spark an inner voice to change the game. Put us in a room with our fellow sisters, and we thrive. The strongest asset to entering the market is we understand our fellow beautypreneurs and the needs of the girls just like us. Each game-changer is taking the taboo out of our beauty regimens and sharing it proudly with the world. Unafraid of others not understanding and showing the world how it's done. The curly hair and nude lip solutions for women of color shifted the beauty scene.

"The future is inclusive with every need met, because the creators of these indie, up-and-coming multicultural brands are answering the needs of their own people, their own struggles, and building solutions. All  our questions will be answered, and we are bringing all voices and beauty to the forefront.”


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